Battle for dominance of the digital music market has been joined this morning with news from Napster of its new 'all you can hear' subscription service, Napster To Go.
Napster To Go is a subscription-based service that lets subscribers access any of Napster's one million-strong catalogue of sounds. Because it uses Windows Media 10, the service also lets subscribers carry their choice of music around with them on a compatible portable music player - and iPods are locked out of the loop.
Apple foes tool-up, conspire
Five compatible music players are available today - from a list of manufacturers that reads like a who's-who of Apple music player foes.
These devices include: Creative Zen Micro MP3 player; iriver H10 MP3 player; iriver Portable Media Centre; Creative Zen Portable Media Centre; and Samsung YH999 Portable Media Centre.
A further 18 devices are expected to reach market within three months, Napster said, predicting a plethora of compatible devices within the year.
Music's Battle of Britain
Napster plans an aggressive multi-million pound marketing campaign to promote its service in the UK, as it attempts to dominate Europe from its spearhead here. The company believes the new service will, "change the music industry forever".
Napster chairman Chris Gorog said: "Our dream has been to offer music fans the key to the world’s music library for a low monthly cost, and by extending online access to those on the move we have put in place the final piece of the jigsaw in delivering the most innovative, versatile and best value music service on the planet."
Coming out swinging
Napster also offers a music download service, Napster Lite. In its attempt to seize the initiative from Apple, the company recently reduced its UK price per track on this service to 79p from 99p per song.
The war doesn't end there - in an 'in your face' move it's understood Napster has already booked advertising slots at the forthcoming SuperBowl, where Apple and Pepsi will officially launch their iTunes promotion.
Napster To Go costs £14.95 per month. Users must download Napster's Windows-only Napster 3.0 jukebox to use the service.